Recently, I read a HealthLeaders article about an interesting startup in Minneapolis – Bind. It’s an “on-demand” health plan which provides a set of core services while allowing consumers to buy additional insurance on an as-needed basis.

“Under the plan, consumers can essentially ‘shop-as-they-go’…” – HealthLeaders

This is an awesome concept. A few things stand out.

  1. The role of the consumer in designing their own plan.
  2. The seeming ability to make changes on the fly, like we do with auto insurance.
  3. Also, that they are trying to provide pricing decision support by tagging services.

All of these characteristics have their roots in consumerism. The Bind team clearly sees the need to develop products that respond to consumer demands, which is smart. We talk a lot about the impact of consumerism at Canton & Company, and this is another example of how it’s manifesting in the healthcare industry. Will it be successful? It’s a bit too early to say, but it does have a lot of good going for it. At $70M, the funding is great, but that’s not a ton of money in the insurance world. It would be interesting to know how they’ll address state regulatory requirements like licensure and minimum standard benefits requirements, although in the latter case, one could envision building their customized health insurance program pursuant to any state requirements. Apps are made for addressing these “differences in design” that slow mass customization. It’s certainly consumer-centric and market-driven, which gives it a huge leg up. Consumers are begging for better options that address their needs for simplicity, transparency, and affordability. Bind seems to check all of those boxes, or at least is focused on them. Whatever the outcome, we need more companies like Bind willing to take on the status quo. What we have now is not a system of insurance for uncertainties that arise related to our health status, but a financing system that encourages the over-utilization of health services, especially expensive therapies. This has to change. [You can read the HealthLeaders article in its entirety here.]

– Don McDaniel, CEO, Canton & Company